Usage Patterns

There are four common usage patterns of illicit drug use: experimental, recreational, circumstantial, and compulsive. Experimental use involves short-term trials of drugs motivated by curiosity and is common among teenagers, young adults, and others naive about the effects of the drugs (8,9,11).

Recreational drug users use drugs in social settings with friends or acquaintances who desire to share the experience. Use is patterned and voluntary depending on the social situation, and the impact on the workplace may vary by its use. For example, an after-work drink may be acceptable for relaxation and socialization, but drinks taken during the lunch break by mechanized combine drivers who are harvesting wheat may be deadly. Any alcohol use in workers who apply the growth regulator hydrogen cyanamide is dangerous because it triggers a potentially fatal Antabuse reaction (see Chapters 13 and 15) (10).

Table 10.3. Stimulants.

Example

Intoxication

Withdrawal

Overdose

Cocaine

Methamphetamines

Amphetamines

Nicotine

Caffeine

Ephedrine

Increased alertness

Excitation

Euphoria

Tachycardia

Hypertension

Insomnia

Anorexia

Paranoia

Apathy

Hypersomnia

Irritability

Depression

Disorientation

Agitation

Hyperpyrexia

Hallucinations

Seizures

Death

Table 10.4. Depressants.

Examples

Intoxication

Withdrawal

Overdose

Heroin

Euphoria

Watery eyes

Slow breathing

Morphine

Drowsiness

Rhinorrhea

Shock

Opium

Respiratory depression

Yawning

Seizures

Codeine

Constricted pupils

Irritability

Coma

Methadone

Nausea

Tremor

Propoxyphene

Anxiety

Talwin

Muscle cramps

Dilaudid

Chills

Percodan

Diaphoresis

Fentanyl

Picking at skin

Tramadol

Piloerection

Oxycodone

(cold turkey)

Demerol

Butorphanol

Pentazocine

Source: Data from Graham and Schultz (8), Lowinson et al. (9), and Coleman and Kay (10).

Source: Data from Graham and Schultz (8), Lowinson et al. (9), and Coleman and Kay (10).

Table 10.5. Hallucinogens.

Example

Intoxication

Withdrawal

Overdose

Psilocybin Mescaline (peyote) THC

Marijuana PCP

Jimson weed Ergot alkaloids MDA MDMA

(ecstasy) MDE

Hallucinations Nystagmus Reactions: Psychosis Depression Flashbacks Emotional detachment

No symptoms reported

Intense hallucinations Respiratory depression Death

Source: Data from Graham and Schultz (8), Lowinson et al. (9), and Coleman and Kay (10).

Table 10.6. Sedative-hypnotics.

Examples

Intoxication

Withdrawal

Overdose

Alcohol Barbiturates Benzodiazepines Antianxiety medicines

Mood swings Aggressiveness Impaired motor control Unsteady gait Slurred speech Impaired judgment

Tremors Hallucinations Agitation Delirium tremors (alcohol)

Somnolence Respiratory depression Coma Death

Circumstantial use is common in workers who require an anticipated drug effect to cope with a specific problem, situation, or condition at work or home. Examples of this are workers spraying pesticides at night who use stimulants to keep awake, truckers who use stimulants for long-haul drives, or farm managers who use benzodiazepines to cope with stress (6,8,9).

Compulsive drug use is defined by Seymour and Smith (6) as "drug use that is patterned behavior of high frequency and a high level of intensity, characterized by a high degree of psychological dependence and perhaps physical dependence. The drug use dominates the individuals' existence, and preoccupation with drug-taking precludes other social functioning." This person is likely to use various behaviors and excuses to avoid drug tests and will deny use if caught. This person may use the agricultural workplace as a source of funds for addiction and as a place to buy, sell, or store drugs (6,8,9).

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